Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha has challenged Chief Emeka Ihedioha to probe him over the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party’s allegation that he withdrew N17bn from bank accounts belonging to the state government within four days.
Ihedioha, who won the March 9 governorship poll in the state on the platform of the PDP, will succeed Okorocha on May 29.
The ex-Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives had threatened to recover what he called “Imo Property” from Okorocha, warning financial institutions against further dealings with the governor.
But in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, on Monday, Okorocha told Ihedioha to prove that the state truly had N17bn and how he withdrew it.
The governor said, “The guy is just being smart politically, but political smartness is different from having the capacity for leadership or governance.
“Where in Imo State, with a meagre Federal Allocation and Internally Generated Revenue, can one get N17bn to withdraw?
“He is coming to become governor with the only income he made at the National Assembly, because prior to his going to the National Assembly, he never did any paid job. And he is trying now to blackmail a man adjudged to be the highest property owner both in Owerri and in Abuja many years before becoming governor.”
Okorocha said the governor-elect lacked the capacity to match his achievements in the state.
The statement added, “He has not said anything about free education, urban renewal and other sensitive people-oriented programmes and policies of the Rescue Mission Government in the state. He is only talking about money and property. A man who failed as a member of the House of Representatives won’t do magic as a governor.
“He should also know that with what Governor Okorocha has achieved, Imo people won’t entertain any excuse from him. If he likes let him talk about Rochas Okorocha from now till when he will leave as governor.”
Okorocha urged the public to ignore the allegation, saying he was ready for probe.
He said, “After May 29, 2019, he has every right to probe even the food Rochas Okorocha and the family ate in Government House.”
Meanwhile, the state PDP has challenged Okorocha to publish the state’s account statement to prove that he has not engaged “in last-minute looting of the treasury.”
A statement by spokesman for the party in the state, Damian Opara, insisted the governor withdrew N17bn from the state treasury.
The statement said, “For emphasis, we insist that, within the last four days Okorocha has made huge cash withdrawals from banks to the tune of N17bn. We challenge him to publish the financial status, including a comprehensive statement of the account of Imo State to buttress his defence as that is the only evidence our party and the good people of Imo will accept as the truth.
“Now that Okorocha has decided to make a mockery of his drowning self by questioning the capacity, preparedness and astuteness of Ihedioha, we will not in any manner aid his desperate attempt to divert attention from his last-minute looting spree.”